Fiber Arts #3: The Lady or the Tiger

Over the last few days, I have been preparing collected edition comics for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo — namely a Great Bear Comics Sampler (with the full Dude’s World #4, The Unnamed #1, and two posts you know well — Sadie Hawkins and the Girl in Question Ch. 1 and the Fiber Arts piece (#2) about my first awesome print) and The Unnamed Vol. 1 (collecting issues #0, #1/2, and #1).

Today, though, we catch up (or at least almost do) with the last week’s worth of posts.

Starting with Fiber Arts Post #3…

…back in 2003/4, I decided to work on a series of 3 prints that would overlap and integrate with each other. My first idea was to have some kind of pattern that was not a pattern — but then I realized that would be easier to do the hard way (i.e. make a repeat and break it). So, I shifted gears — I had been wanting to do something like a comic book cover or something much more graphic than the other prints I had seen.

I started out with a pile of images — including characters from my favorite TV shows at the time (Buffy and Angel, anyone?), musicians (can you spot Norah Jones?), and artworks (there’s an Asian tiger from a design on a reed mat, a woodblock print of birds, and spirals that my friend and former teacher Jason Wright [who I haven’t talked to in years — he was/is awesome!] made). Unfortunately, the original images are all stored away with the rest of my belongings at the moment.

So, for now, here’s the drawings of the three prints.

So, as you may be able to tell, I got a little crazy with my designs. There’s planets and hidden seductresses and floating heads. I think the first one I did was the most interesting to do — as I simplified and added a great deal in the process of making it. See below — but at one point, I decided to print only 2 of this image and not 3 — leaving JUST the background (which was a marbled tone of green and blue) printed alone because it was striking. That led to my layering that piece with the print that I made on a sheer fabric to create a 3-dimensional effect.

Apologies for strange background effects — that’s a painting on the wall of my the room I’m staying in…  Anyway, after making this particular image (which came out pretty awesomely), I decided to do something a bit more understated. In particular, the narrative I had attached to these three images was two-fold. On the one hand, it was a version of the classic tale, The Lady and the Tiger, such that the central figure is faced with a lady on one side of him (who is secretly a samurai) and a tiger on the other (who got really confused and turned out to be a guy and a girl too — we’ll get to that). He is also a dual figure, both man looking inward and woman looking outward — can’t remember why exactly.

Here’s the one I thought of as “the lady” – even if it is a bit wrinkly from storage:

Unfortunately, the tiger is currently missing — the print is not where I remember storing it, so I’m afraid for now, take a look at the drawing I gave you earlier…

The other side of the story was a particular friendship I was in at the time, wherein a good female friend o mine and a good male friend o mine were starting to hang out with me and each other as a trio. Which was something (after years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Roswell the TV series) that I longed for greatly. I should have known better, though — and that is, in part, what this is about. While I represented my male friend as a calm hidden-samurai figure, my female friend turned out to be a chaotic tiger seductress (subconscious — I wish I had listened!). The end of the actual story is some asinine behavior, a terrible road trip, and a friendship or two lost (and some egos scarred).

The print, though, turned more and more toward the idea of the lady or the tiger (and my solution was basically that we are all equally lady, tiger, and warrior making the choice — the only delineation is where we stand to look at the situation).

Printing the second image (of the lady) was easily the most fun — not only were the dye colors fairly uncommon and interesting to mix up (especially the pale cool tones), but the image of the samurai interwoven into the young woman and the crazy background were hugely fun to print and watch develop (even if cutting out the stencils was painful). The tiger print was less fun — mostly because I had too much detail and was not getting enough sleep at the time.

Despite it’s faults, I loved the three of these enough to put them in the annual School of Art and Design show, where they were generally barely noticed (even if my parents dug ’em), and the lady made her way into a display case later in the year, alongside some velvet curtains that were supposed to be burnt out (while maintaining a back layer to hold the fabric together) but wound up burnt to shreds by the chemicals…

(Image Coming Soon)

The lady print is one that I often hang on my walls — and I still have a soft spot for David Boreanaz with a lady under his shirt (i.e. the first print), but for now, this has been your third Fiber Arts print from Great Bear.

Growlingly yours,

J

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